Weekly Round-Up, 15-21 November 2023: “Anime Tourist,” Labor Union Negotiations, and Vita Otome Games

By: Anime Feminist November 21, 20230 Comments
a very buff, smiling man riding a confused-looking blue cat monster

AniFem Round-Up

Genre conventions and a gentle story of recovery in My New Boss is Goofy

This darkhorse Spring shoujo takes a work-com format and spins a story about finding a supportive place to heal from the trauma of an abusive workplace.

What Tomo-chan Is a Girl! gets wrong and right about gender-nonconformity and sexual assault

While sometimes clumsy, Tomo-chan is sincere in trying to tackle victim-blaming and the pressure to be gender-conforming.

What adaptation most improves the source material?

Whether the source was weak, or the adaptation is just that much cooler.

Bonus Podcast (with Transcript) 2023 October: How to Baldur’s Gate 3

In which the team takes a little break and geeks out about the handsome vampire man (among other things).

Beyond AniFem

Mamakari’s Plus-Sized Misadventures in Love Manga Gets TV Anime (Updated) (Anime News Network, Rafael Antonio Pineda)

The series doesn’t yet have an announced airdate.

NTT Solmare publishes the manga in English through its MangaPlaza service, and it describes the manga:

“This is the punishment for a fat, ugly girl like me falling in love with someone as beautiful as you…” Yumeko had a mountain of complexes about herself. Then, a terrible accident befalls her. Though somehow saved from the brink of death, Yumeko wakes up a completely different person. “This is…me…?! I’m SO cute!!” Those around her can’t hide their surprise and wonderment at this 180°change… But, Yumeko’s new hyper-positive attitude starts to change her surroundings, too. Worries and complexes can affect anyone, and Yumeko will chop right through those of her various supporting characters!! In love, work, friendship… And an attempted murder case?! This frenzied romantic comedy will leave you bubbling with energy!

mamakari launched the manga in 2019, and NTT Solmare published the manga’s seventh compiled book volume digitally on February 3. The manga inspired a live-action series adaptation in November 2022.

Update: MangaPlaza announced at NTT Solmare‘s panel at Anime NYC on Friday that it is running a campaign to celebrate the announcement; the first 10 chapters of the manga in English are available for free until November 30. NTT Solmare stated it will reveal more details about the anime at a later date.

Ainu woman fights Sugita’s discriminatory remarks (The Asahi Shimbun, Yuki Nikaido)

Sugita’s track record of saying horrible things continues unabated and unabashed.

An Ainu woman is no longer remaining silent but speaking out against a lawmaker’s continued discriminatory remarks toward the Ainu indigenous people, which have been officially recognized as human rights violations.

“I’m terrified of what will happen to a society that silently watches a Diet member who incites discrimination,” said Ryoko Tahara, an Ainu activist, citing recent comments by Mio Sugita, a lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, who has a history of uttering offensive remarks.

Tahara, who filed a petition with the Sapporo Legal Affairs Bureau for violation of human rights, participated in a hearing held by the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan on Nov. 15.

The issue originated from a 2016 blog post in which Sugita mocked ethnic Korean residents and Ainu indigenous people who wore traditional costumes at a meeting of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in Geneva.

The “Lost” Otome: PS Vita Otome Games that Deserve a Switch Port (Blerdy Otome, Naja)

The Vita had a strong otome selection, and its death left several of them stranded.

Please, save this game! Please! Sweet Fuse At Your Side was one of the first otome games I ever played and while it’s technically a PSP game, you could get it on the Vita through PSN—so it still counts! Sweet Fuse is hilarious and campy, with a dynamic cast of characters and it would be a huge loss to the fandom if this game stays locked into a long dead console. I don’t even need a Switch port, I’ll take a PC port, mobile, just anything to keep Sweet Fuse from going gentle into that good night.

By otome standards, it’s not heavy on the romance, giving off the same vibes Zero Escape or a less intense, Danganronpa. Saki Inafune, the niece of famed game developer gets trapped in a video game theme park with a group of hotties by a deranged pig. I know it sounds insane, but trust me when I say this game is everything! Saki and her harem of hotties, which include a pop star, a detective, a jaded reporter, a host, a gamer shut-in, and a psychic, have to navigate deadly traps, solve puzzles, and outwit Count Hogstein and his piggy henchmen if they hope to get out of the park alive. And if there’s time, maybe find love along the way.

I love everything about this game and I desperately need more people to play it! Saki is a heroine who was ahead of her time, sis literally beat these boys into submission and she has a quick wit that puts everyone around her to shame. Sweet Fuse is seriously amazing!

‘Make uniforms genderless’: LGBTQ group calls for freedom of choice in Japan schools (The Mainichi, Hajime Nakatsugawa)

The symposium also included a uniform-based fashion show.

At the event, members of sexual minorities from within Niigata Prefecture recalled their stress in junior high and high school and objected to the requirement for skirts based on gender.

Masaki, a transgender man in his 30s who was born female, emphasized, “When I was in school, putting on a skirt every day was overwhelming.” He said he also became sensitive of the fact that the buttons on boys’ and girls’ blazers were on opposite sides.

Masayo, a lesbian in her 30s, added, “In high school, jerseys were colored based on gender. I feel a sense of unease at being able to pin students’ gender at a glance.”

Students who are menstruating can take make-up entrance exams (The Asahi Shimbun; Chika Yamamoto, Yukihito Takahama, Masayuki Takashima and Yusuke Nagano)

There is still some discussion on whether the official wording should be about menstruation or debilitating symptoms related more broadly to it.

The Tokyo metropolitan board of education has been making decisions based on third-party certifications, such as medical certificates. As a variety of symptoms, including menstruation, can be covered under the current system, the board has no plans to change its response after the central government’s notification.

“There have been no applications for supplementary examinations on the basis of menstruation,” said an official in charge.

According to the National Center for University Entrance Examinations, the university entrance examination in January each year may allow students to take a supplementary exam if a medical certificate is presented.

There have been past cases where permission was granted after a medical certificate was submitted and approved for menstruation-related symptoms.

“Many women have serious symptoms related to menstruation, such as abdominal pain, nausea, and other dysmenorrhea associated with it, as well as PMS,” said Sachiko Takahashi, assistant professor and obstetrician-gynecologist at Saitama Medical University. “During the examination season, many junior and senior high school students come to us for consultation, saying they are worried that their exam dates and menstrual cycles may coincide.

39% of childhood abuse victims in Japan survey say things got worse after seeking help (The Mainichi, Hiroyuki Tanaka)

The group will release the full details of the survey in future.

Tokyo-based private support organization Onara surveyed 683 abuse victims (62 men and 589 women) now aged 18 or older online from Sept. 9 to 30 this year. A total of 218 said that they had consulted a third party at the time of the abuse, and of these 63.3% stated that their situations had not changed after seeking help. Another 39% answered that the abuse got worse, while only 6.9% answered that things improved and 6.4% said they received temporary protection.

Asked about who they spoke to (with multiple answers allowed), the most common response was teachers at 54.1%, followed by relatives at 40.4%, friends at 28.9%, and adults in the neighborhood at 22%. Among public institutions, 21.6% of respondents said they had talked to the police, 17.9% had sought help from child consultation centers, and 7.8% from government offices.

“If a child talks to a school teacher, their parents may find out and the abuse could get even worse,” pointed out Ami Takahashi, director of abuse victim support organization Yuzuriha, at the Nov. 19 event to present the survey results.

Onara head Tsugumi Okazaki stated, “Children who are abused are emotionally traumatized, so when they ask for help and are denied, they tend to feel that no one will help them anymore.’ How the adults around them react is very important.”

Why Me? A Narrative Feature About Games Media Layoffs (Unwinnable, Jess Reyes)

The spate of site closures sadly seems to show no sign of slowing.

About a month after my editor and I were laid off from Inverse, GamesIndustry.biz published an article about games media layoffs that included testimony from at least three different major publications that laid off a significant portion of their staff.

According to GamesIndustry.biz, games media also often deals with unrealistic expectations from upper management and an incentive to lean heavily into SEO-centric articles. Games in particular was a fast-growing beat that companies treated like an uncomplicated cash grab without understanding how long it would actually take to build trust as a publication and how much traffic was possible, even with hardworking, talented staff. 

Even now, I see the struggle for editors to manage pitches based on genuinely interesting topics that align with the site’s interests and how well they align with SEO goals. Gotta get those clicks, baby.

Anyway, it wasn’t enough. Not for Future, Tencent, GAMURS, WaPo, Static Media, BDG –

The list goes on.

Japan’s Labor Union Head Says Small Firms Hold Key to Wage Gains (Yahoo! Finance, Erica Yokoyama, Emi Urabe and Mia Glass)

Wage negotiations for spring are set to begin next month.

For now, Yoshino said she sees strong momentum already coming from large businesses. Some major companies, including Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. and Suntory Holdings Ltd., have reportedly committed to raising salaries for employees by as much as 7%.

Still, smaller firms say continuing wage hikes next year will be challenging, according to Yoshino. Companies working in the construction, logistics, and car sectors are finding it particularly tough to pass on costs to their customers in the complex supply chains in those industries. That may make it difficult for them to raise pay for employees, she added.

“Much more needs to be done” to help companies pass production costs onto customers, Yoshino said.

The first female leader of union group was also concerned about pay growth not keeping pace with rising prices. Real wages fell for the 18th month in September, weighing on consumer sentiment and household spending. Fragile domestic demand contributed to the Japanese economy contracting more than expected during the summer months this year.

Amid concerns over the continued hit from inflation on households, the government has added to its push for wage growth. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida unveiled an economic package worth over ¥17 trillion ($113 billion), part of which will be used to reinforce pay growth, particularly for smaller enterprises.

East Japan local councils starting to tackle rampant sexual harassment by lawmakers (The Mainichi, Shoko Washizu)

Anti-harassment ordinances are currently shelved but members of the assembly hope to return to them in 2024.

Sexual harassment of female lawmakers has become more visible in recent years. Nearly 60% of female members of local assemblies reported having been harassed by colleagues or supporters in a report released by the Cabinet Office in 2021.

The targets of rampant sexual harassment in the political world have not been limited to female lawmakers or candidates. In the October 2020 incident made public by the CDP’s Saitama Prefecture chapter, a now-former party member in the Saitama Municipal Assembly grasped a female supporter’s hand without her consent while in Tokyo. After the allegations came to light around two years later, it was determined to be sexual harassment by the chapter’s anti-harassment task force upon an investigation by lawyers and others.

Komiyama said that going forward, “The party’s prefectural chapter as a whole will demonstrate our firm stance that harassment is unforgivable. I’d also like to hold training at regular intervals.” The party chapter has also taken steps such as providing online access to its support desk and revising how the chapter holds itself accountable.

VIDEO: On the new gatekeeping term “anime tourist.”

AniFem Community

Not surprisingly, stories about music have a definite edge in the mentions.

I've seen a couple mentions of K-On!! here, but I'm going to submit the first season of the Haruhi Suzumiya series. The Light Novels aren't inherently bad, but their appeal is constrained a bit by being stuck in the narrator's own head. By comparison, the anime manages to maintain certain advantages the original story gets from its format (such as using clever blocking to maintain ambiguity in some scenes) and rearranges the entire structure into something that brings a feeling of chaos while distinctly improving the pacing of the series when taken as a whole. I'd even defend Endless Eight as an inspired take on a short-story that would otherwise be utterly unmemorable.  They don't go to such stylistic lengths with it, but KyoAni similarly rearranged the structure of 2006's Kanon to tie together five stories that were previously fairly segregated, making the overall arc of the visual novel more explicit, creating an interplay between the cast that was previously lacking, and creating a stronger emphasis on its overarching emotional theme. A personal favorite.  And for their hat trick: condensing CLANNAD's over-70-hour runtime down to a 44-episode core shows a strong understanding of the work as a whole in being able to pull out its most effective elements while still leaving the characters room to breathe and share a rapport. It tops a lot of lists for a reason.  KyoAni was really on a roll with this in the mid-to-late aughts, huh?.
Angelic Layer took a fairly simple battle of the week shonen to elevate it to a well done and beautifully animated character drama that did a pretty thoughtful portrayal of disabilities for the time period the show came out in it.
Devilman: Crybaby  Yeah, I said it. The first full adaptation in one series of Nagai's original story with a lot of wild and unique new spins on an iconic series done in a way that only Yuasa could deliver. Gay gay homosexual gay.  Also that Avu-chan cover of the 70s Devilman theme fuckin slaps.

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